Seven keys to development success

Winning strategies | How to build your business development team

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If an organization is moving beyond the strategy of
farming organic growth, it might be ready to
build a precapture strategy. Most companies
begin by looking for an individual who can deliver
new business, from qualify to win. The question
is does the company have that person. Typically, this
person has established a working, personal relationship
with the senior management of the department, agency
or program being pursued. He or she brings an extensive
contact base and ready access to the appropriate individuals.
But this is a minimalist approach.

Many people who fit this basic profile
declare themselves business development
But they
are not. Many
have excellent credentials,
experience in
leadership, operational
and tactical
planning, and program
and resource
Individuals with this profile seem like
perfect candidates, and many companies
hire them. Most, however, are not
committed to using their experience
to acquire new business. Many dig a
circular ditch when instead they
should dig strategically. Strategic business
leaders must apply the following
seven concepts.

The hunter

Are you a hunter? Be honest. Think
about it for a second. The business of
hunting is not pretty, and it's not for
the weak. You must exhibit the
hunter profile: always pursuing the
next best strategic opportunities for
your company and crafting those
opportunities before competitors recognize
them. Hunting is scientific in
nature, breaking open new opportunities,
developing new relationships
and testing opportunities well before
they come out on the Federal
Business Opportunities Web site.

Purpose and goal

It's critical that you understand the
goal and purpose of business development.
What is business development
to you? In addition to developing a
substantial pipeline, you should recognize
that your role is to help organizations
understand their real issues
and concerns and identify their pain.
This is a tough but trust-building and
affirming step.

Behavioral psychology

Understand how and why people
behave act they do. What is it that
motivates a prospect to trust an individual
and share information?

Gathering information

Acquire the behavioral characteristics
of an intelligence-gatherer. This
is not marketing. In other words, you
must be as skilled at intelligently asking
dumb questions as in giving high-level
briefing presentations. This is
the critical ability to know what
information is important to gather
early on and then whom to gather it
from and how.

Just say no

Develop the ability and courage to
disqualify opportunities early and
efficiently. You must be able to let go,
walk away and move on to a better

Building the pipeline

Obtain the skills necessary to
quickly build a short- and long-term
pipeline. Real business development
leaders can quickly engage people at
the highest level within an organization
and have a knack for discovering
precapture opportunities, short- and
long-term, on an ongoing basis. How
is this working for you?

Alpha prone

The last quality a strategic business
leader must have is the ego drive to
continually pursue new opportunities
as an alpha wolf. Alpha wolves have a
heightened sixth sense ? the ability
to see leverage points and make connections
that others miss.

The question is often asked, "Are
strategic business leaders born with
the business development gene, or
can they be developed in this role?"
It's a little of both. Few bring it all.
That's where professional development
and mastery education come
into the strategic business development
equation. Are you ready to take
the next step?

Next month we'll talk about 30
ways to lead a strategic business

Bill Scheessele is chairman and chief executive
officer at MBDi, an international business
development professional services firm. He
can be reached at

About the Author

Bill Scheessele is the CEO of MBDi, a global business development services firm providing expertise in business development best practices in the national security, defense, scientific, energy and engineering industries. The firm offers BD consulting, strategy, planning and personnel services in addition to education workshops to help BD professionals identify hidden strengths, barriers to progress and opportunities for improvement. Learn more about MBDi, their revenue growth resources and their workshops at

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